Tag Archives: mental health

LibLink: David Laws – The road to student retention

David Laws has been writing for Times Higher Education focussing on the worrying number of disadvantaged students dropping out of higher education:

The UK government’s target to double the number of disadvantaged young people going to university by 2020 is laudable. Access to higher education offers a platform for young people to succeed and is central to establishing a meritocratic society.

Nevertheless, while access provides the foundations, it doesn’t build the house. If we’re really serious about meritocracy, we have to be ever vigilant about what happens to young people once they are at university too.

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Lamb says Tories failing on mental health waiting times

So, it didn’t take long for the Tories to apply the brakes to all the good work done on mental health by Norman Lamb and, before him, fellow Liberal Democrat Paul Burstow.

The Independent talks exclusively to Norman about what’s happening now he’s not there to drive things forward.

Norman Lamb, who served as the minister responsible for mental health in the Coalition government, said that vital new waiting-times targets for a range of mental health conditions including bipolar disorder and OCD “won’t happen” because the plans were not funded.

He also hit out at an NHS England decision to water down financial incentives for local health authorities to improve mental health services, and criticised “scandalously low” levels of funding for research into mental health conditions.

Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson and one of the country’s leading campaigners for improved mental health services, said that “all signs” pointed to “a continuing disadvantage for those who suffer from mental illness with no prospect of it ever changing”.

He told the paper:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: We’ve made progress on mental health but there’s still work to do

Nick Clegg has written about mental health in today’s Evening Standard column.

One story illustrates different attitudes to physical and mental health:

A few years ago, I met a man called Robert at a mental health trust in Liverpool. He was in his sixties, well-dressed and with a neatly trimmed moustache that gave him something of the air of a Fifties provincial bank manager — not the image you normally associate with severe mental illness. He told me that a few years earlier he had been in hospital with a heart condition and, while he was there, he had been visited regularly by friends and family, sometimes three or four times a day. This outpouring of love was a great tonic for him as he recovered. But he was hospitalised on another occasion — this time for a mental health condition. During the five months he languished in hospital he was visited just three times. The contrast speaks volumes.

He talks about the work that the Liberal Democrats did government, and goes on to outline 3 new priorities for action:

The first is the way it is funded. Part of the reason that there have been cuts in mental health services despite the renewed focus from government is down to an important, if technical, discrepancy in the way they are paid for. A hospital, for example, is paid by activity: each procedure has a price attached to it and the more it performs the more money it gets. Mental health trusts, on the other hand, usually get a block grant. So when demand goes up, the money stays the same.

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Crisis mental health care in the NHS must improve

I was struck by a blog in my Facebook timeline this morning. It was actually written a year ago today by Becca Plenderleith, who joined the Lib Dems in the wake of the election last year. She’s already contributed so much to the Party, writing for our Scottish members’ newsletter, making thoughtful and insightful contributions on mental health – and she’s also written for LDV, too. We are very lucky to have her.

In the post she shared this morning, she shared her experience of what passes for mental health crisis care in Scotland – and it just simply is not good enough. The experience she had mirrors other people’s experiences. I have heard of Accident and Emergency doctors, who clearly have no training in mental health, berating a shut-down self-harming teenager and tell them that they are wasting their time.  In that example, when the Child and Adolescent Mental Health people got involved, things improved remarkably, but it should never have happened in the first place.

I am horrified that a young person in crisis could be treated in such a callous way. I’m quoting from Becca’s post here with her permission:

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Lib Dem parliamentarians mark #timetotalk day

Today has been Time to Talk day, Time for Change’s annual initiative to get more people to talk about mental health. It’s something we’ve done to great effect over the last couple of years. You can read the many moving and personal articles our readers have written here.

One Liberal Democrat parliamentarian who was definitely talking about mental health today was Welsh AM Eluned Parrott. She led a debate in the Senedd this afternoon.

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Why Luciana Berger was so wrong to attack Norman Lamb

When you start a fight, you should choose to fight the side who is damaging you or the cause the most. You should also make sure you have the right backing and tools at hand to win the fight.

Luciana Berger has decided to both ignore the current Government’s reneging on spending for mental Health, whilst also choosing to attack Norman Lamb who has done more to put mental health on the political radar than anyone, whilst she has…well…what, exactly?

The point-scoring attempt this week to blame Norman for the continuing crisis in mental health services finally broke the straw that I’ve been carefully balancing for a while now.

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“It’s time to break the silence surrounding male suicide”

Norman Lamb and his son Archie opened up on ITV News about Archie’s depression and thoughts of suicide. In a very moving interview with Mark Austin they say what it is like to live with mental illness.

Archie explains:

It just takes over your head. You can’t think of anything else. When you get into depression you cannot think of anything else apart from the gloom of how you are thinking. In my toughest moments you don’t feel like there’s any escape. … I’ve had those thoughts ever since I can remember. They’re not very nice thoughts to have, obviously. It’s really, really horrible and you feel embarrassed to talk about them. At the time I wouldn’t have spoken to my parents about it, or my friends because it is embarrassing.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 4th May - 4:17pm
    What are you going to do about this, Joe ? Exclusive: The links between South Yorkshire Police Hillsborough and Orgreave ‘cover-ups’ five years apart Read...
  • User AvatarJoe Otten 4th May - 4:07pm
    Many thanks Phil. There's more in today's Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/may/03/hillsborough-families-criticise-south-yorkshire-pcc-over-inquest-tactics?CMP=twt_gu
  • User AvatarDavid 4th May - 4:00pm
    Take time off between Good Morning and first knock-up. No-one thanks you for knocking before lunch. Or, in London, much before 6pm.
  • User AvatarDavid 4th May - 3:59pm
    Expected an article about planning for fish markets in London. Would have been more interesting.
  • User AvatarRob Gilliam 4th May - 3:04pm
    A couple of hours' power nap, sometime between lunch and the after-school knock-up/phonebank. Essential if you're starting the day with Good Mornings and ending it...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 4th May - 3:00pm
    Thanks Lorenzo. I saw that comment from David but didn't think it was worth a reply. I don't want to comment on this website too...